| Italy

Coca-Cola acquires minority stake in Italy’s Caffè Vergnano

Coca-Cola strengthens its coffee portfolio by acquiring a 30% equity shareholding in premium Italian retail coffee and café chain Casa Del Caffè Vergnano

Caffè Vergnano offers a range of retail coffee products and operates around 100 coffee shops globally | Photo credit: Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) has pushed further into the global coffee market, acquiring a 30% stake in premium Italian retail coffee company Casa Del Caffè Vergnano.
In a press release, Coca-Cola HBC said the companies has also entered into an exclusive distribution agreement for Caffè Vergnano’s products in Coca-Cola HBC’s markets outside of Italy. Completion of the acquisition is expected in the second half of 2021 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
Coca-Cola HBC, the CPG arm of US beverage giant Coca-Cola, said the acquisition would contribute to its vision of being the ‘leading 24/7 beverage partner’ across its markets. ‘Caffè Vergnano is highly complementary to its existing Costa Coffee proposition and will allow Coca-Cola HBC to address an even wider range of consumer tastes and segments,’ the company wrote.
“We are grateful for the trust being placed in us by the Vergnano family and are excited by the opportunities ahead with this terrific brand. With Caffè Vergnano, we are well positioned to build a total coffee portfolio that caters for a diverse range of consumer preferences. We are respectful of the company’s 140-year history and the dedication and passion of the four generations that created such a rich and renowned coffee brand, synonymous with the authentic Italian coffee experience. Our investment in Caffè Vergnano is aligned with The Coca-Cola Company as we have worked together on this opportunity,” said Zoran Bogdanovic, CEO, Coca-Cola HBC.
“By combining Coca-Cola HBC’s expertise, know-how and critical mass, with our heritage coffee brand, great products and deep knowledge of the industry, we are confident this will prove a powerful partnership in growing our business further,” added Franco and Carlo Vergnano, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Caffè Vergnano, respectively.
Caffè Vergnano is a family-owned Italian coffee company headquartered in Santena, Italy. It is one of the oldest coffee roasters in Italy with roots dating back to 1882. The company offers a range of traditional espresso in various blends, packages, and formats including whole beans, roast and ground coffee, and single portioned pods. The company reports it sold around 7,000 tons of coffee in more than 90 countries worldwide during 2020.
In addition to its retail operation, Caffè Vergnano also operates around 100 coffee shops around the world, mainly across Europe and the Middle East.
Coca-Cola’s acquisition of a retail coffee company comes at a time when at-home coffee sales have surged amid the temporary closure of many hospitality businesses due to Covid-19 over the last 12 months. As many coffee shop businesses look towards a sales recovery during 2021, a dedicated retail coffee offering could prove a lucrative additional sales channel for Coca-Cola. 
Coca Cola HBC oversees the Costa Coffee business purchased from UK restaurant and hotel operator, Whitbread, in a deal worth £3.9bn ($5.4bn) in 2018. It also controls the beverage brands Schweppes, Kinley, Valser, Romerquelle, Fanta, Sprite, Powerade, FuzeTea, Dobry, Cappy, Monster, and Adez.

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